Batch Cooking is Easy, Saves Time, and Improves Meal Balance
We get it – it’s hard to find time to cook healthy meals. Utilizing a few hours of the weekend can get a big chunk of your meals cooked and portioned for the week. This saves time and energy and increases meal balance and nutrition during the workweek. Here are 5 easy ways to incorporate healthier meals quickly and easily with batch cooking!
1. Start Simple
When batch cooking, it is important to make meals balanced. A balanced meal includes vegetables, whole grains or starches, healthy fats, and protein. So start there! Classic batch meal examples are chicken, broccoli, and brown rice or roasted sweet potato, kale, and chickpeas. Simple ingredients that are easy to prepare, quick to cook, and budget friendly. Adding a little bit of healthy fat goes a long way, cook with extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil, or add nuts, seeds, or avocado to a dish. Whatever you choose, start simple.
2. Shop One Day, Cook Another
One tip that helps break up work and reduce stress around batch cooking is to create shopping list, pick up ingredients on one day, and cook the next day. This way you can spread out free time for relaxing instead of creating another “workday” for batch cooking. Also, keep ingredient lists sensible. If you need 8 onions, consider buying a bag of frozen chopped onions to save yourself from an afternoon of tears.
3. Incorporate The Season
Shopping seasonally not only saves money on ingredients, but also brings versatility, flavor, and boosted nutrients to your dish. It’s easy to swap ingredients in recipes for seasonal ones. For example, asparagus, a cheap and flavorful vegetable in the Spring, lacks flavor and is much more expensive in the Fall. Think about color when swapping – spring asparagus is easily substituted with fall Brussels sprouts, keeping the price lower and bringing new flavor to a dish.
4. Make One-Pot Meals
Try making one-pot meals (think slow cookers, sheet pan meals, and stove top stews), where all ingredients are cooked together in one pot or pan. This saves time and reduces the amount of dishes that need to be washed later. Win-win!
5. Choose Recipes Wisely
There are tons of great recipes out there designed to save time and money as well as use ingredients that are healthy and blood sugar friendly. Many have portion suggestions and focus on using simple ingredients, easy preparations, and reasonable cooking times. The American Diabetes Association has a huge recipe database that can be filtered by ingredient, preparation time, or dietary preferences. Check it out here.
Don’t forget to log your meals on the Brook app, so you can track your progress and see how certain meals affect your blood sugar readings.